We were thankfully safe, and relatively dry, after Irene raged through town, but some of our neighbors were not so lucky. It was hard not to feel just a little embittered at the folks down in New York shouting Overrreaction! while whole towns and historic covered bridges rattled down swollen rivers in Vermont.
But, like I say, we were safe and dry, and only lost power for a few minutes. Which meant that my emergency plan of grilling and canning the rapidly melting food in the freezer thankfully never came to fruition. Instead, one rainy evening, I made a meal that looks toward autumn, while still taking full advantage of the plentiful; produce of summer — roast local chicken (Square Roots Farm), small salted red potatoes, chard sautÃ© with dill, parley, and green onions, and smashed purple haze carrots with cumin and caraway. The last one is the recipe I want to share with you today.
Smashed Carrots with Cumin & Caraway Recipe
From The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters
The delightfully eggplant-toned purple haze carrots look nice in this dish, but regular carrots will look and taste great, too — they take on a vibrant orange hue when cooked. I found that a sprinkling of dukkah — not to be confused with dukkha — perfectly compliments the light savoryness of the carrots, and adds a satisfying crunch. Use freshly ground spices if you can. If I’m feeling particularly energetic, I’ll grind my spices in a mortar, but a coffee grinder reserved for spices only will do.
- 1 1/2 lbs. carrots, scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch thick coins
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 1/2 onion, finely diced
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp. ground caraway
- salt and pepper
- 1-2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- chopped cilantro
- dukkah (optional)
- Heat a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add the carrots and garlic and cook until the carrots are tender. (Pierce one with a fork to test its doneness — they take longer than you’d think.)
- In a small pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 7 minutes.
- To the onion, add the cumin and caraway and a bit of salt and hold over the heat for a minute or two, until fragrant.
- Add the cooked carrots, stir, and cook for a few minutes more to let the flavors mingle. Turn off the heat and smash the carrots with a fork or potato masher. A rough texture is perfect here. Add the lemon juice, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve topped with cilantro and dukkah.